A recent study published in scientific journal Nutrients received a lot of media attention much of which concluded that breastfeeding may not be as good as we think. The study was very limited in what it looked at and no conclusions can be drawn from it. Breast milk is the best option for babies where it is possible to breastfeed.
The study examined if fructose was present in breast milk and if fructose in breast milk was associated with body composition of the infant.
It only involved a small sample of 25 mother-infant pairs. Infants were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Child body measurements and breast milk samples were collected at one month old and 6 months old.
Main findings of the study include:
- Fructose, glucose and lactose were present in the breast milk samples (Breast milk would be expected to contain sugars).
- Average fructose content of breast milk was low at 6.7µg/mL.
- Each 1µg/mL increase in fructose was associated with a 257g higher body weight, 170g higher lean mass, 131g higher fat mass and a 5g higher bone mineral content.
- Fructose was the only sugar significantly associated with body composition.
The findings of this study must be interpreted with caution for a number of reasons. The study had a small sample size and is not representative of the total population. Researchers did not collect any dietary data from the mothers to evaluate their diet and the potential source of fructose.
Breastfeeding remains the recommended choice for baby. It is recommended to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of a baby’s life.